Following Christ Is Not Meant To Be Easy
Today’s Gospel is the well known story of JESUS telling the rich man to sell all his possessions, give the money to the poor and then follow Him. But why would Our Lord demand such a thing, if, as we’re told in the story, He loved him? (Mark 10:21) The answer is because love seeks what is best for the beloved.
In the First Reading, (Wisdom 7:7-11) King Solomon comes to discover that worldly treasures and possessions are nothing compared with wisdom – because when we’re wise, we see everything and value everything as God does. But when Our Lord told the young man in the Gospel that something was lacking in his life, he didn’t want to hear it. He wanted to keep things as they were. But Our Lord was inviting him to something much more.
So what about us? Are we happy with God when everything is going well and to our liking, but then start to complain when life becomes challenging? Are we quick to pray when things go wrong but too busy to pray at other times? Are we happy when the teaching of the Church consoles and comforts us, but then angry when it challenges or convicts us? Are we charitable when it’s convenient, but unwilling to be so when a real sacrifice is involved?
Our Lord told us that following Him wouldn’t be easy. Due to Original Sin and its effect on the world in which we live, there is always going to be some pain and suffering if we are to be authentic, faithful Catholics. This is the cross. Knowing what we must do but not doing it gets us nowhere. And I think this is the point of today’s Gospel; we have to strive to become rich in God’s eyes by doing His Will – particularly by praying, visiting the Blessed Sacrament, attending Mass every Sunday. We need to ensure we remain in a state of grace and go to Confession as soon as is necessary. Avoid occasions of sin, learn more about our Faith, and then spread it with zeal. And be generous towards others with the blessings we have received (the corporal and spiritual works of mercy).
Love is demanding, and so just as Our Lord invites the rich man to choose the path of wisdom instead of comfort, and to follow God’s Will instead of his own, He is asking the same of us. He wants us to love Him more and follow Him more closely, even though it may mean leaving some comforts behind. But our eternal reward will be greater than we can ever imagine. Become a saint!
Fr Paul Gillham IC